In the summer of 2017, The Museum in the Streets© was unveiled. The Museum in the Streets© is a walking tour of Altamont. It is part of an international heritage program. By following the map, visitors can learn some of the history of the village. At each location, the panel presents an archival image and the historical significance of the location. There are two large panels depicting the entire walking tour map, one located in Orsini Park and the other on the corner of Gun Club Road and Route 146 just outside the Village.
Copies of the Walking Tour Map are available at the Village Offices, The Altamont Free Library, and at select local businesses.
The installation of the Museum in the Streets© was made possible by grants from the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Assemblymember Patricia Fahey. Generous donations were received from Jeff Thomas, Stewart's Shops, CMFox Remedies, the Cure family, Sundown Lawn and Landscape, Altamont Community Tradition and the Village of Altamont's Roger Keenholts Fund. The Village of Altamont wishes to thank the property owners for their support and cooperation; Ron Ginsburg, Photographer; Keith C. Lee, Researcher; Marijo Dougherty, Archives Curator and Spanish Consultant Teresa Wood-Irvin for their contributions in making this project possible. The Museum in the Streets© project was proposed and implemented by James M. Gaughan, Mayor, 2005-2017.
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Village of Altamont Archives and Museum
The Archives and Museum are located in the Altamont Village Municipal Building at 115 Main Street. The mission of the Archives and Museum is to collect and preserve important historical documents, photographs, and ephemera relating to the cultural, educational and municipal history of the Village of Altamont (incorporated in 1890), its citizens and founders.
Altamont was the first Village to incorporate in the Town of Guilderland, NY and remains the only one to this day. The incorporation was the culmination of a great period of growth since early settlers first built on land at the foot of the Helderberghs (the “bright” mountains).
In 1767, only three homes were located on land now within the Altamont corporation limits, according to the Bleeker Map dated that year. The John Kidney farm on the Northeast corner of Route 146 and the Schoharie Plank Road, the Juria Siverson House on Brandle Road, and a then unidentified farmhouse located on the Southeast corner of Maple Avenue and Gregg Road. These early settlers were the first to populate the area.
In 1840 following the death of influential settler, businessman and NY State Treasurer Benjamin Knower, the Village was named "Knowersville". In 1863 with the coming of the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad and the first passenger train, residential and business development flourished. In 1887 a new post office was established and, following a vote of the residents and the intersession of President Grover Cleveland (at the behest of summer resident Lucy R. Cassidy) the Village was officially re-named Altamont (high mountain).
Additional history about the Village and its founders can be found in the collections of the Archives and Museum. The collections are currently undergoing examination and cataloguing to make the collections more accessible to the public and to complete more in-depth scholarly research on the material. Several aspects of targeted collections will be available on-line upon the completion of the project in the summer of 2010 with access to original documents, family records and historic photographs greatly improved.
At present there are no regular hours for access to the collections due to this ongoing process. However, persons wishing access for research and other matters are encouraged to call the Archives and schedule an appointment.
The Village Hall exhibit cases contain ongoing curated exhibitions of material from the Achives and are accessible during regular Village Office hours. Visitors may also view the "Altamont Mayors' Portrait Gallery”, a permanent collection of framed photographs of the 35 chief executives of the Village since its incorporation in 1890.
The Roger W. Keenholts Fund
The Fund, established in 1992, is named in memory of the Village of Altamont historian, Roger W. Keenholts (1943-92). Roger was a well known citizen activist and dedicated collector of the historical artifacts and stories of the Village of Altamont. His collection of artifacts, photographs, oral histories, memorabilia and ephemera form the core collection of the Village of Altamont Archives and Museum, which continues to receive important donations of Altamont family treasures to this day.
In order to preserve, restore and conserve the artifacts in the collection, the Roger W. Keenholts Fund was formed, to honor Roger and to continue his work. Donations by like minded individuals, organizations and corporations are encouraged to continue this important collecting and preservation effort, which enable the story of Altamont, NY to be remembered.
For those interested in being a part of this effort, kindly make your check payable to:
The Village of Altamont Roger Keenholts Fund, PO Box 643, Altamont, NY 12009